Oct 19, 2013

Kijabe "Place of the Wind"

Flying into Kenya was very different than the DRC we had left. Nairobi was like a US city with large buildings, good roads, bustling shops, and lots of cars. As we left the city we got to see more of the beautiful open landscape and at times just wild animals along the side of the road.  Kijabe means “place of the wind” and that is where the hospital we served in was located in the Rift Valley. AIC Kijabe Hospital is known across all of Africa especially for its neurosurgery. Which is crazy because it is tucked in this small town with one little grocery store, a market and a few other little shops. The only other big thing in town is the large private school Rift Valley Academy. The school is well known for its academics and just producing well rounded young men and women. It was neat to meet some of the students and those involved in the many ministries at the school.

I came excited to meet the physio team, to share therapy ideas, learn more about the Kenyan hospital system and learn more Swahili. We had spent the last two weeks training nurses and those in the village with an interest to learn but with no therapy background. I figured this would be the easiest training we had done since we were working with physio’s with some schooling, but God certainly had a lesson in store. I quickly found myself wondering if the therapist understood the role we came to play. As we followed the therapist around during their daily treatments each remained very welcoming but quiet. No questions were asked and no real opportunities to share treatment ideas. As we treated together I saw areas where I could give input but was struggling how to approach without looking like the American trying to come in and show them how to do therapy. At times one therapist was explaining some very basic principals to me as if I were a student and I found myself getting offended that he assumed I did not know that basic principal.

 That is when God humbled me and help me see the attitude of my heart as I approached this experience.  It is amazing what pride can do to you. I realized if that empowers the therapist to help teach me basic therapy concepts then that is my role to listen.  It was amazing once I changed my perspective God open doors and allowed opportunities to not only share therapy ideas but also about my faith and other experiences.  At the same time I was able to learn more about chest physio and feeding which I had very little experience in.  We were able to get to know the staff on a more personal level and hear more of their individual stories. It was exciting to hear them learn how there is little to no therapy in the Congo and talk about wanting to go do trainings with us. We talked about the possibility of going into  local villages in Kenya to do trainings where there is such great needs and little to no services. They had no idea these needs existed because, just as it is in our country, therapy is very prevalent in the places they had lived in Kenya.  We could see their love to serve in the work they were doing in the hospital by the way they cared for their patients, but it was inspiring to hear them come up with other ways they could use their therapy skills to serve and share the love of Christ. It was also very moving to pray with them for their country while the attacks were going on at Westgate. To hear the faith many have in God to not place blame, but rather trust in the peace that passes all understanding.

 I am constantly humbled and thankful for the things I have learned from the people God brings into my life as I attempt to follow the path He has me on. It is very often not as I plan but always as He plans.  God can do so much more when we lay down our pride, allow ourselves to be stretched and get out of the way so He can be glorified.